Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Pave Paradise, Put Up a Parking Lot

Something bad's happening (see press release here, and/or just keep reading). Know anyone in North Carolina? If so, please consider enlisting their help. Here's a page with more information, including addresses of people who need to be written to. Here's my letter to the relevant congressman, senator, and local officials:

Dear [XXXX],

I'm a food writer/author, and the founder of the popular dining site, (now owned by CBS).

I write about great food and great people making great food around the country, and have built a reputation for having an unusually keen eye for little operations doing fantastic work. I have, on several occasions, raved about Maverick Farms in Valle Crucis.

Their sustainable farming methods are highly creative, and an inspiration to lots of other small and family farmers. They improve life in their community by selling their exceptionally high-quality produce and by hosting farm dinners unlike anything else seen in the community.

But most impressive is the infectiousness of their idealistic and their smart methods. Over the decades, this farm, owned by a long-established local family, has inspired countless people - especially young people - to go into family farming, and to farm smart. It's amazing to see kids with fancy degrees from fancy schools choosing not to move to big cities to become marketers or lawyers, but to put on overalls and work the land.

I don't see how Maverick Farms isn't great for Watauga County and for North Carolina, which needs its marketers and lawyers, but also needs idealistic small farms upholding proud local traditions...and bringing them into the new millennium via creative new methods.

We live in a big country, but I've singled out Maverick Farms in my writing as particularly important. It's influential well beyond its small scale. But in a few weeks, the DOT plans to destroy it, on short notice, by paving a road through its fields, at the behest of some local developers.

I'm all for progress, but my understanding is that there are problems with this project - it will, for one thing, create a dangerous traffic bottleneck between two bridges. This is a poorly considered move, rushed through on short notice without consideration, community input, or discussion. And it will kill one of the best family businesses in the area.

It's a crime. Please consider doing this more thoughtfully. Get the deadline extended so there's time to think and compromise. Reconsider plans, and find a way to allow transportation progress to continue without needlessly paving over one of the best things in Watauga County.


Jim Leff
For Those Who Live to Eat

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